Food Allergies and the Pharmacy

Unsung Heroes of the Baby Shower

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I have been invited to my cousin’s baby shower this weekend which got me thinking about my standard baby shower gifts. These gifts are partially influenced by my pharmacy background but, more so, by my son E.

I remember one brutal night before my son turned one. He began vomiting and I freaked out, just a little. Ok a lot. And even though I had been a pharmacist for years, I called my Mommy.

His skin had already began cracking and bleeding (of course at this point I had no idea it was from the food; the vomiting was probably due to the food as well); he was taking diphenhydramine continuously at the pediatrician’s direction, using topical and inhaled steroids, as well as albuterol. The ear infections were non-stop and so were the antibiotics.

His humidifier ran 24/7 while the Aquaphor ointment helped his diaper area as well as all the cracked, scaly, bleeding skin on his face, arms, and legs. Ear infections lead to temperature spikes that could only be controlled by rotating acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Diphenhydramine helped E’s entire body, but only temporarily.

Of course skin care was huge; Aquaphor and either Cetaphil cream (***update:  this was before his nut allergy diagnosis so I didn’t know I was rubbing him down with something he was severely allergic to) or Cera Ve cream were a must. Poor little guy couldn’t even play outside in the grass without a rash popping up somewhere.

When I think back to those days, I am so thankful, thankful that E didn’t have anaphylaxis before diagnosis (and before we had an EpiPen),  thankful that my son’s allergies have been improving, and thankful that I am finally able to get some sleep, glorious sleep.

As you will see, I give items that have helped my family. Products that were invaluable at 4 am are my go-to gifts.

1. Humidifier

2. Aquaphor ointment

3. liquid acetaminophen

4. liquid ibuprofen   

5. liquid diphenhydramine

6. dosing syringes for all the liquids (never use the spoons used to eat to measure medication)

7. Cera Ve cream

***update: please note that Cetaphil creams and lotions contain nut oils. I originally had Cetaphil listed in #7 but removed it because I only buy Cera Ve for my family and I try to make my gifts as allergy free as possible. Also I worry about the impact of the nut oil on the damaged skin. An article confirming the link between a goat’s milk skin product and subsequent anaphylaxis recommends that skin care products be bland and contain no food allergens. 

Homa Woodrum reminded me of another wonderful product called Vanicream. Compounding pharmacies use Vanicream frequently and it received the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. If you can’t find Cera Ve or Vanicream at your pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if she can order it for you.

8. nasal aspirator (bulb)

9. nasal saline

10. rectal thermometer  and information on how to take a temperature

Since food allergies, and allergies in general, are on the rise, I feel that it’s important to arm new parents with the products they may need to deal with unexpected illnesses. These are not the cutest gifts at the shower but, one day, you will get a phone call thanking you. I have received many calls over the years. The mommies are so appreciative and usually reveal that these gifts were not anything they had ever thought about registering for or purchasing themselves–the unsung heroes of the baby shower.

Are there any other products that you think are necessities for mother’s and father’s to be?

Have food allergies affected your choices in unexpected ways?

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Tiffany PharmD Food Allergy Pharmacist

I am the sister of a milk protein allergy individual and the mother of a son who has multiple food allergies. E is ANA with eggs but also severely allergic to soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. I also happen to have a Doctorate in Pharmacy with experience in various pharmacy settings. I have informally advocated and educated pharmacists/pharmacy techs about food allergies and how those allergies come into play in a pharmacy setting for years. I finally decided to make that advocacy formal.

2 thoughts on “Unsung Heroes of the Baby Shower

  1. Essentials as a baby gift are a great idea! I know I would have appreciated your choices when my daughter was born. I think the only thing I’d change on your list is to give vanicream instead of cetaphil because they use nut oils in some varieties (but I know many people that tolerate nut oils just fine since the protein is not supposed to be present). My go-to shower gift is a boppy pillow because even if the mom to be isn’t planning to breastfeed, it is a great pillow for setting a baby down.

    • Good point with the Cetaphil containing nut oil. I really should have tagged with in the post (and I will update that in just a minute). The moisturizing cream does contain almond oil; the intensive moisturizing cream contains shea butter; the lotion contains macadamia nut oil and shea butter. I don’t use Cetaphil at my house due to my son’s nut allergy The Cera Ve cream, however, does not contain any nut product and is my favorite–that’s what we use at my house. Vanicream is a great suggestion! We use Vanicream in pharmaceutical compounding frequently. Local pharmacies may not carry it on the shelf but they can usually special order it pretty easily and it is accepted/recommended by the National Eczema Association.

      Boppy Pillows are great arm savers! Loved mine.

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